Home » Uncategorized » Monday Musings, October 9, 2017 #emchat #admissions #highered

Monday Musings, October 9, 2017 #emchat #admissions #highered



Colleagues and friends,

It’s a busy week at Augustana…

Today we hosted a visit day for prospective students. We had awesome weather and the admissions and enrollment team knocked it out of the park.

We debuted a new video featuring a couple of our current students. I got a little weepy when I watched it the first time and listened hard to one of the vignettes a student shared. Her words reminded me that we have the opportunity to do transform lives when we do our best work.

Later this week we will host the college’s Alumni Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees.

And, it’s homecoming weekend!

I look forward to the opportunity to welcome home so many of our graduates as they return for reunions and to see old friends.

The most difficult thing about this week for me is ensuring that I have enough Augie Blue & Gold bow ties to get through all of the events!


A thought I can’t get out of my mind

 I am still working my way through “Leaders eat last” by Simon Sinek

This weekend, when I found a few minutes to read, I ran across the following passage, which stuck with me. In contrasting “the genius leader” and a leader who distributes responsibility across the organization, Sinek writes the following:

“…when the leader has the humility to distribute power across the organization, the strength of the company becomes less dependent on one person and is thus better able to survive. In this model, instead of trying to command-and-control everything, the leaders devote all their energy to training, building and protecting their people—to managing the Circle of Safety—so that the people can command and control any situation themselves.”

This passage really hit me and made me think about what I am doing and what I need to do.

I once had a boss who told me that his “job was to prepare us to be his replacement.” He was the type of leader who had the humility to think in those terms and I did have the good fortune to “replace” him. However, upon reflection, when I left Etown, I had not done everything I should have done to distribute power across the office to ensure a seamless transition and continuation of some of thing things my predecessor and I had put in place.

I would like to think that I am in a different place today and a different leader.

This idea of distributing power, so that people can command and control any situation themselves, is very appealing and something to aspire to; however, I think this is sometimes a tough sell in higher education. But, as a leader, this is something I can work on daily as I work with my teams and team leaders. It’s my job to ensure everyone feels safe and empowered to make decisions and offer creative solutions.

I ask those of you who read this to hold me accountable and let me know how I am doing.

 Two things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)

Turbulent times for enrollment leaders—Peter Farrell’s (Royall & Company) piece about the challenges enrollment leaders face today is well worth reading. I’ve known Peter for 25 years and appreciate his judgment and observations about our work. His advice to: 1. Build Bandwidth; 2. Persist; and, 3. Engage parents is solid and his specific suggestions are very helpful. While there is more to do, his advice is a good starting point.

What do you think? What advice do you have for enrollment leaders in this crazy marketplace?

The Architecture of Enrollment Management—Today I received and email newsletter from Hastings & Chivetta architects. At first I didn’t think much of the email because Augustana has done work with H & C in the past and I figured that this was just another brag piece about their work.  However, upon closer examination, I noticed that this was a completely different piece and the note had a very specific purpose. Because it was an email, I had to cut and paste pictures below, rather provide a link. Check out the pictures:


This is fascinating to me! An architect is going to do an enrollment management audit and assessment.


I don’t know who on their staff is going to be doing this, but I must admit that I am intrigued by all of this. Perhaps, the email should have included the subject line, “Build it and they will come.”

On a more serious note, here are a couple of thoughts:

  1. H & C is very wise to enter the EM space; enrollment is on the mind of every president across the county and everyone is looking for solutions.
  2. H & C seems to know that the arms race is not over, despite what one might read in some of the higher ed media. Facilities matter and the type of assessment they are offering seems sensible to me.
  3. H & C’s efforts are likely to be most appealing to tuition-driven places that are looking for any edge they can find.
  4. I am not convinced that H & C has any real expertise in this area at all and worry that this is really just a ploy to get to presidents.
  5. This move by H & C makes me think about the gift of a toy bulldozer the Etown financial aid staff gave to me during a period of time when there was no active construction going on! I once lamented that we should at minimum always have a bulldozer on campus, whether were doing construction or not, to make prospective students think something is happening. They gave me a bulldozer; it just wasn’t as big as I was expecting.

So, what are your thoughts on this? What’s next for architects? And, do you think they have value to add to the EM space?

 Something for you (and me) to think about

You will soon get to read about some of my crappy ideas!

Last week I tweeted that I was thinking about recollecting and writing about some of my crappy ideas over the years. Much to my surprise, I had a few followers who responded. One follower asked if I was going discuss bad ideas or bad implementation? I figure there are enough of both that I can just answer, “yes” to the questions. Another follower offered praise and suggested that owning failure is really healthy.

So, with that affirmation, I plan to start offering some glimpses into bad ideas, miscalculations, poor execution and half-baked thoughts. You can look forward to learning more about “micro-teams,” stretch territories, badges and institutes for the humanities.

P.S. If you know of someone who you think I should add to my distribution list, please let me know and I will gladly add them to the list. I try to get one of these out every Monday. And, you can read past issues of my musings at my blog @bowtieadmission

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